New Bass Connections Theme Invites Faculty and Students to Improve Healthcare in the U.S.

July 25, 2022

Health Policy & Innovation

Bass Connections and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy announce a new theme, Health Policy & Innovation, to support interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students in their exploration of solutions to improve health and wellbeing in the United States. 

The Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy will administer the theme, which will be led by Beth Gifford, associate research professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy and a Duke-Margolis core faculty member.

Beth Gifford.
Beth Gifford

“The Bass Connections model facilitates the type of genuine partnerships and applied research necessary to address the complexities of the U.S. healthcare system and translate research into impact,” Gifford said. “I’m honored to be part of this new chapter in the life of the program and in the university’s efforts to improve health while preparing the next generation of public health leaders.”

The Health Policy & Innovation theme is supported by an expendable gift from Duke Medical School alumnus Dr. Robert J. Margolis M’71 and Lisa Margolis, and matched by Bass Connections funds. 

Bass Connections organizes research opportunities around six broad themes in which Duke has extensive disciplinary and interdisciplinary strengths. The new Health Policy & Innovation theme will build on a robust network of faculty, students and community partners who are committed to examining the root causes of health inequality in the United States and developing new policies, practices and technologies to advance health for all Americans.

This theme will also take advantage of a growing partnership between Duke-Margolis and Bass Connections. Over the past two years, Duke-Margolis has supported a range of Bass Connections projects related to U.S. health and healthcare that were proposed through the Bass Connections Open channel, which is designed to support projects not covered by an existing theme. In 2020-2021, Duke-Margolis also partnered with Bass Connections to support the COVID-19 “pop-up” theme, which seeded 13 research projects to investigate the issues and impacts of the pandemic. 

Gillian Sanders Schmidler, deputy director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, expressed her enthusiasm about the new theme: “Given the growing interest in U.S. health policy research and the history of successful collaboration between Duke-Margolis and Bass Connections, I believe that the Health Policy & Innovation theme is poised to tackle some of the toughest issues facing the U.S. today, and enrich the education and career development of hundreds of students in the process.”

How to Get Involved

Bass Connections is now soliciting proposals for 2023-2024 projects. Faculty can propose projects that investigate the current U.S. healthcare system, support the development of evidence-based health policy, foster advancement of new medical technologies, investigate the roots of health disparities and more. Graduate students and staff are also welcome to propose projects in collaboration with at least one faculty member.

“We are inviting the whole Duke community to rise to the material, political, technological and social challenges that impact public health,” Gifford said.

The first cohort of projects selected under the new theme will be announced and opened for student applications in January 2023.

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